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Happy List: #38

It’s Friday and my week has had more drama than usual, so I feel ready to EXHALE and regroup.

On Monday I shared my happy little golf ball pumpkins. The hardest part about this craft is waiting for the paint to dry.

On Wednesday I shared the books my kids read over the summer. One of our favorite books involved a Flying Diaper. What’s not to love about that?

Here’s a big dose of the random things this week that made me smile, nod or say, “That’s such a great idea!”


Here’s an AMAZING free printable for you all. It was designed by Ashley from The Handmade Home.

Enjoy the little things – it’s a great reminder, isn’t it?

This graphic prints out in a size up to 30×36. If you framed it for someone, it would be an awesome gift!


As a new school year starts, so does an entire new round of volunteering.

This is a sign that should be in a lot more places.

Be kind to the volunteers out there serving in our communities, schools and other organizations.


This pantry by David Heide Design Studio was carved out of the narrow and shallow place between the wall studs.

if you have a spot to create this in your home, it would be a storage game changer. A space like this could serve as shoe storage near a front door too.


Doesn’t this breakfast look heavenly?

And that’s lemon whipped cream on top of the lemon poppy seed waffles. YUM!

Get the recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod.


I am a big, mushy sucker for a craft with my children’s handprints.

I would have saved this shirt forever if one of my kid’s had made it in school. If you turned it into a pillow, you could bust it out at Halloween for years to come!

Tutorial for this DIY shirt can be found at The 36th Avenue.


Recycling bins are necessary, but they can be space hogs.

I never thought to make a simple wall holder like this one! Clever!

This is also a good example of how a project doesn’t necessarily have to be “pretty” to really improve how your space functions.

More info on this idea here.


Angie from Knick of Time has been making book page bows, which are super cute. I don’t know where I’d use them, but I like them all the same!

She has a great tutorial on how to make your own.


I love a dramatic ceiling.

I also find it interesting that the kitchen island in this photo doesn’t have seating.

This space is featured in the design portfolio of 2to5 Design.


It’s hard to tell in this picture, but this is not real rock candy!

The tutorial for this magnet craft is at Handmade Charlotte. My daughter would think this was a cool idea.

Thank you for sharing part of your Friday with me. I know there are much bigger things going on in the world, so I’m happy you found your way here today.

Enjoy your weekend and I hope you have time to create something that brings you joy.

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Happy List #14

Hello, hello!

This week felt a little long to me, so I’m all about the TGIF today.

Earlier this week I took you on a tour of my local grocery store in Ireland and showcased some of my favorite food items for your viewing pleasure. In honor of Valentine’s Day and all of you who make my world a happier place, I also shared two free love printables.

Here’s what’s on my Happy List this week.

Girl Scout Gum?

Someone makes Girl Scouts Gum now. I read somewhere that the gum holds its flavor for an hour. An hour? Really? What can’t those Girl Scouts do?

I haven’t tried it though. If you’ve tried it, let me know if it lives up to the hype!

Giant Connect 4

The Home Depot Blog shares step-by-step instructions (including cut lists) on how to make your own Connect 4 game.

How cool would this be for backyard BBQs, summer camps or family reunions?

(image source)

Ottoman DIY

I thought this was a clever reuse for a wood electrical spool. While it seems like a lot of work, it might be worth it if you got the spool for free or dirt cheap. At least that would save you the cost and time of cutting the round plywood pieces.

Learn more, including step-by-step directions at Infarrantly Creative.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Guys. I think I’m late to the game on these yoga videos for kids, but I’m glad I eventually showed up!

Lately, before or after our nightly story time, my kids have been doing one of the Cosmic Kids Yoga videos on YouTube. The lady leading the videos is a heck of a storyteller and each yoga move correlates to a part of the story. There’s LOTS of movement, so it is good for little ones with short attention spans. While I’d say the videos are mainly geared for younger children, my 9-year-old seems to enjoy them so far too.

Last night my 6-year-old watched one where she talked about your “attention” as a muscle. The more you train your “attention,” the stronger it gets. I liked how she didn’t present a short attention span as a bad thing, but as another part of our body we can grow and improve.

Origami Hearts

Did you see this on Facebook? Love Matters shared this post about an anonymous student at Troy High School in Ohio who spent over 5 months making origami hearts for every person in the high school.

Valentine’s Day can be hard for anyone, but especially teenagers who are dealing with all of the teenage hormone stuff. I love that every single student was included in this gesture. There’s hope for the world!

(image via)


If you’re looking for an awesome Sugar Cookie recipe, I tried this one on this week. “Best cookie ever” was the response from the students at my children’s school. I’d take that endorsement with a grain of salt, but they were tasty – especially with chocolate drizzled on top.

I did follow the recommendations from the reviewers on how to add more flavor to the recipe.

Scrap Wood Bunny

This is something I might make if we hadn’t sold all of our tools.

Note to self: buy a saw.
Other note to self: find out where they sell saws in Ireland.
Other, other note to self: see if they can deliver it to my door.

Read all about the how-to at My Recipe Confessions.

Galvanized Metal Clock

There were a bunch of gems in the most recent issue of Country Living.

I need someone to make me this galvanized metal clock because, you know, TOOLS!

I also like the rooster. And the ladder. And the plant stand. All of it. I like all of it.

That’s it for this week, folks! I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Go out and spread some happiness and cheer!

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Happy List #8

It feels like the first week of December flew by!

This week I shared pictures of our foyer decked out for Christmas and some images of how retailers in Ireland are getting into the Christmas spirit. I’ve been busy over on Instagram too!

Here’s what’s on my Happy List this week…


Personally, I think my girlfriends should schedule their getaways in Ireland. With me.

But, if you insist on relaxing without me, here are some getaway ideas from Country Living. The one shown below is from my home state of Oregon. Not too shabby, right?

1480454858-oregon-suttleadirondak_byremygomez(image via)


Some of my best memories with friends are the unplanned ones.

The times when the group of kids that get off the school bus together beg the moms for an impromptu play date. Secretly, us moms like it because the kids are entertained and we can sit and chat for a few minutes an hour.

Or the times back in Oregon when we’d say, “we feel like BBQing, who wants to come over tomorrow?” Our friends would bring some food…especially the important things like dessert and booze. I could put my youngest to bed at his normal bedtime and then I’d be able to stay up way past my bedtime, which isn’t all that hard to do since I go to bed before 10 p.m.

There was nothing Pinterest-worthy about any of these gatherings. I couldn’t even find a photo – at least one I was willing to share. But, many a night was spent laughing away on this deck, looking out at this view. Riverdale-Exterior8

This author reminds us that it’s more fun if we approach getting together in a more casual way. There’s not a lot of planning or cleaning. It’s way less stressful and a lot more fun. I will say, you do have to have the right friends for this. The ones that aren’t judging you because your laundry isn’t done. Again.


Why do we have Christmas trees?

Why does everyone in Ireland eat mince pies during the holidays? So many mince pies.

Who is the magical person that delivers presents to kids? It’s different based on your country!

This article helps answer all of your Christmas tradition questions.



This looks like a Junk Whisperer project. Am I right? She has some pretty terrific mason jar lids.

I feel like the tree needs a stem, but I love the clever use of materials.

Learn more about this project from Funky Junk Interiors.



A childhood friend just launched a new site called TravelSprouts. It’s all about traveling with kids: tips to make it easier, helpful products, staying healthy while traveling and more.

Go check it out! I know she’d appreciate the love!



Karianne at Thistlewood Farms created a Scrabble tile tree that is right up my alley. I think this would make a fun DIY gift for a friend or a teacher. Or me.


Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you enjoy your weekend.

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The Happy List #6: Int’l Black Friday and Other Randoms

How are you? TGIF! For all my American friends, how was your Thanksgiving? Are you joining the throngs of Black Friday shoppers today?

I admit I thought Black Friday was an American thing. Imagine my surprise when I saw Black Friday advertisements here in Ireland. Hello, globalization.

I’m not a journalist, but I did a quick Wikipedia search…so thorough over here. I learned that while the shopping form of Black Friday does seem to have its roots in the U.S., Black Friday is indeed more widespread than I thought.

Canadian retailers have adopted Black Friday in response to Canadians driving across the U.S./Canada border in search of holiday deals.

Romania, India, France and Australia, among other countries, have also started Black Friday selling events. This appears to be largely driven by the increase in e-commerce – in particular with retailers that operate multinationally.


The U.K. has had it’s own Black Friday for years, but it originally referred to the Friday before Christmas when emergency services saw increased demand due to so many people out drinking adult beverages. Not good.

In 2013, a Walmart subsidiary brought Black Friday shopping deals to the U.K. Not to be outdone, the following year some U.K.-based retailers followed suit. Critics blasted this marketing technique as the further creep of American influence in the U.K. Unfortunately, in addition to crowd control and traffic issues, the Black Friday of 2014 also brought with it criminal activity. Since then, some retailers still participate in the shopping event, but others have downplayed their participation. I’m guessing retail Black Friday will grow in the U.K. in the long run.

Ireland, while not legally or politically a part of the U.K., for retail purposes often gets lumped in with the U.K. and Black Friday shopping is no exception.

The psuedo-educational part of this post is over. PHEW! Let’s move on to this week’s Happy List.


I’m thinking about getting these running socks for the hubby for his stocking. We had so hoped to have direct Irish relatives – as it would help with getting dual citizenship – but alas, nope. We do love Ireland and the Irish people, we’re just not related.


I just discovered Barns Courtney’s music and in particular, the song “Goodbye John Smith.” It was playing in the background of a show I was watching and captured my attention because the piano is the dominant instrument in the song.

(By the way, the company that is storing my piano in Georgia emailed me the other day to tell me my baby piano is nice and safe and warm in storage. AWWW! They are so kind to us neurotic piano owners.)

Anyway, the song was used in a very hopeful scene in this show. One of those slow motion scenarios where the characters are going to do something impossible to save the day. Then I listened to the entire song on YouTube and realized the song, in its entirety, is kind of sad.

But, the singer’s voice is so captivating and I love a ballad I can sing along to – regardless of whether or not the song’s meaning is hopeful or sad or just confusing! Basically, it’s on constant repeat here. How’s that for the long way of telling you I like a song?


I just bought my second Sinjimoru phone pouch  (it sticks on the back of your phone or phone case) for 8 bucks on Amazon and I can’t say enough good things about it. The only reason I got a new one is I got a new phone and case. My husband has my old case (with the pouch) and he tells me, “this pouch is really handy!” DUH! I’ve been telling you that!

I had my first one for about 18 months and it never showed any signs of coming unstuck. Also, the fabric of the pouch never stretched out. While maybe not the smartest, I’ve used it to hold cash and/or cards. Currently, I use it to hold my public transportation cards (3 of them – for me and the kids) because I need quick access to tag on and off the train. Heaven forbid I hold the line up! When I travel I use the pouch for my hotel key card.

Amazon USA link
Amazon UK link


I was looking for beginner knitting patterns the other day and somehow stumbled upon the Knitted Knockers site. This organization uses volunteers to knit breast protheses for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy. I had no idea. No idea this was a thing. An amazing thing. Watch the video – it will all make sense.

If you know how to knit and feel compelled, please visit this organization’s website and see how you can help. They have groups set up all over the world to make and distribute the knitted knockers.


If you’re looking for a fun, easy wreath to make, this one from Craftaholics Anonymous fits the bill. It’s super cute too. I daresay, grapevine wreaths have never looked so good. The blogger used chipboard to make the snowman’s hat, nose and scarf. However, depending on where you are hanging the wreath and how durable you want it to be, I think you could use other materials.



This is the year that I need to make baked brie. Talk about happiness on a plate. Handy Husband would think I worked so hard on this…and I would never dissuade him of that notion. Easy recipe and tips (like bake it in a pie pan to contain the goo) can be found at The Kitchn.

6b49f2de59d5825057b2e5acd85be9a1ab0e8a48(image: Emma Christensen)

Well, I’m off to prep for a busy weekend! Sleepovers, choir practice, trail race and more this weekend for this family. Tis the season! Happy Friday!

Affiliate and non-affiliate links in this post.

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The Happy List #6

Here’s what been swirling around in my brain this week.

The Crown on Netflix

People. I devoured this show. As in give my children cereal for dinner and let them skip baths so I could eek out a few more minutes to watch this show.

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth was mesmerizing. By her facial expressions alone you were sucked into her world and I could feel how conflicting and burdensome it must have been for her to assume the duty of Queen. Then don’t even get me started on John Lithgow as Winston Churchill. They both should be winning awards for this series.

The only thing I didn’t like was that there were only 10 episodes for season 1. How could they? Get season 2 here now!

Christmas Tree Baskets

I’m obsessed with baskets under Christmas trees. I even tried to make one last year. It was an epic fail, so I didn’t bother sharing it. And I do mean an epic fail.

I keep thinking that with a large enough basket or maybe a lamp shade, I could make my own. Just keep thinking, just keep thinking…

Galvanized Christmas Tree Collar

This one is $69.95 from Crate and Barrel. They have a glossy red version too!


Willow Tree Ring

This basket version is $65.00 from Grandin Road.


Beaded Gold and Silver Tree Collar

This sparkly little number from Pier 1 is way more than I would spend at $124.95, but it is lovely.


Parenting Summed Up In One Picture

This picture in the Huffington Post had me rolling!

The mom holding the grapes captioned the photo as “My kid said I gave her too many grapes. I said just eat half of em.”


(Image source)

One Room Challenge Reveal at Hi Sugarplum

This is not my style, but I still love it. Does that happen to you guys too? I love Cassie’s use of color. She combines prints and colors in ways my brain would never process. This seems like a very happy space.


Multiple Wreaths

First, hello light-filled space! Second, that chandelier. Third, I’m all about that fireplace with its multiple wreaths. While I could live here, apparently this is all set up at the One Kings Lane studio and not an actual house. I could still probably live here though…


Short and sweet this week, friends! Enjoy your weekend. Happy Friday!

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Books My Kids Are Reading Now

My 9-year-old is a bookworm and I’m hopeful my 6-year-old will become one too. His reading abilities have exploded in the last few months. We go to the library weekly – sometimes daily for homework – and here are some books we’ve been reading together this month.

Knitbone Pepper – Ghost Dog

My kids loved this book – especially my daughter. If you have a pet you love, then you can probably relate to the story. It might even explain some of those strange sounds in your house?!

Danny the Champion of the World
With the recent celebrations at our local library and the release of the movie BFG, my kids have discovered the world of Roald Dahl. Finally!

This story was definitely entertaining and my kids enjoyed it immensely. It’s interesting to read a book with your children where the main characters are doing something wrong, but everything else about them is likeable and even upstanding.

The Magical Detective Agency: The Magical Detectives

We are halfway through this book, so I can’t vouch for how it ends. So far, my kids think it is hilarious that a cat can talk while on the magical quest. As for me, I’ll wait until we finish it to issue my final opinion.

Dork Diaries 3 1/2: How to Dork Your Diary

I have no idea how my daughter missed one of the Dork Diary books. I chalk it up to it being a popular series at the library. She’s devouring this book on the train. And don’t ask me what it’s about. I can only endure so much.

Poppy the Pirate Dog

My son brought this book home from school as his “read aloud” book of the week. I’ve been in first grade classrooms that had an abundance of cutesy books that the boys were definitely not interested in. This one, thankfully, wasn’t too cutesy and boys and girls would like it. If your child’s reading is progressing, but they aren’t quite ready for a full blown chapter book with no pictures, then check this book series out. It offers a good balance of challenging words and some pictures thrown in too.

Why Spacemen Can’t Burp

I admit it – I probably enjoyed this book more than my kids! The book is filled with short 1 and 2 page answers to all sorts of weird questions that kids ask. Why do doughnuts have holes in the middle? Or can kids be raised by animals? I also admit I have pondered this question a time or two since becoming a parent.

If you have some books you think we’d enjoy reading, let me know! I’ll be happy to add them to our reading list!

P.S. If you want to know which two books made my eyes leak recently, read this post.

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The Happy List #2: Podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts?

I didn’t, not regularly, until we moved to Ireland. Now, I have a fair amount of solitary time during my walking commute, riding the train, etc. Earbuds are kind of like the uniform for solitary commuters. Put earbuds in, don’t make eye contact with fellow travelers and mind your own business. Basically, it’s an introvert’s dream.

What’s not an introvert’s dream? Calling attention to one’s self. I’m prone to busting out in song if I listen to music and that would be a BIG violation of the solitary commuter code. That leaves podcasts.

There is an entire world behind that little podcast icon on your phone or tablet. Podcasts are free and there’s pretty much a category for every interest: news, true crime, politics, family, education, bedtime stories, science, fiction, pop culture, comedy, language learning, etc.

If you don’t have a smart phone or tablet, you can always listen to the podcast on the podcast’s website.

Here are a few of my favorite podcasts:


Both of my kids LOVE this podcast. Plus, it’s not so annoying that adults wouldn’t enjoy it too. The best part of this podcast, besides the fact that my kids are silent for 12 glorious minutes, is the conversations and questions that we have because of what they’ve learned.


Description: Exploring stories of science discovery. Tumble is a science podcast for kids ages 8 – 12, created to be enjoyed by the entire family. Hosted & produced by Lindsay Patterson (science journalist) & Marshall Escamilla (teacher).


I have learned so much from this podcast on a whole host of random topics. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be regular fixtures at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair?

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With 80 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.

99% Invisible started as a project of KALW public radio and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. Originally, host and creator Roman Mars produced 99% Invisible from his bedroom. Roman Mars is also a founding member of the podcast collective, Radiotopia.

While Mars has since upgraded from his bedroom digs to a studio behind his house and an office shared with 99pi’s wonderful staff (in beautiful downtown Oakland, California), most of the equipment and production process remains the same.


This show fascinates me. It’s not about blood and guts, but it is about crime. Like the guy who solved the problem of people dumping garbage (a crime) on the median outside his home by putting up a buddha statue (also a crime). And now, this little median is where hundreds of people come to pray daily and crime (drugs, prostitution, theft) in his part of town is almost nonexistent. Talk about creative problem solving. Like I said, fascinating.


Description: Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the “if it bleedsit leads,” kind of crime, but something a little more complex. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We’re a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, and the winner of a 2015 Third Coast International Audio Festival “Best Documentary” award for 695-BGK. Criminal was co-created by Lauren Spohrer, Phoebe Judge and Eric Mennel. We launched in January of 2014.


My kids are learning some French in school. I thought I should try and keep up with them, so I’ve been listening to Coffee Break French. It’s a “say the phrase and repeat it” type of learning process. I’m not sure if I’m learning anything – yet, but I just started. If the French language isn’t your thing, Radiolingua offers other languages too.


Description: Coffee Break French is indeed everything you need to learn French, whether you’re an absolute beginner or a more experienced learner wishing to build your confidence in spoken and written French. You’ll be accompanied by experienced teachers throughout your Coffee Break French experience, so you’ll make solid progress and build your range of expression and mastery of French grammar quickly.


This American Life is one of my favorite radio shows (also available as a podcast) and one of their recent spin-offs is Serial. I was skeptical about this one, but I do love a good mystery. The storytelling style of an actual event is what will keep you listening. Every episode you’ll say, “he definitely did it” and then the very next episode you’ll say, “he’s innocent!” By the end, you won’t know what to think. Or you will.


Description: Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story—a true story—over the course of a season. Each season, we follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. We won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order.

Serial has won several awards, including the Peabody, Edward R. Murrow, duPont-Columbia, Scripps Howard, and Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts.


I loved the Young House Love blog and then they stopped blogging and I was devastated. I exaggerate, but I’m happy to see John and Sherry back and I enjoy listening to their DIY and home decorating podcast. Plus, they have conversations with some of the big stars of HGTV like Sabrina Soto and Emily Henderson.


Description: Deep (and not-so-deep) conversations about home improvement, design, and life at home. Tune in for weekly episodes filled with casual decorating advice, DIY stories, and a smattering of home related games, along with what’s new around the house and interviews with designers, bloggers, TV personalities, and more. Sherry and John Petersik are the married duo who began chronicling their home improvement adventures in 2007 on the blog Young House Love, which spawned two New York Times best-selling books, as well as product lines sold by Target and Home Depot. And, well, now they have a podcast.

The other thing I like about podcasts? They make the really boring chores like dishes, laundry and weeding a million times more pleasant. Happy listening!

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Friday Funnies

Who is ready for the weekend?

*raises both hands*

I’m always ready for the weekend, but September weekends are especially welcome.

This lady nails why September is the Worst and does so in a funny and relatable way. Since I’ve been completely serious halfway joking that I’m dying a slow death by homework, I appreciated her take on things.


On our train ride home from school recently, my 6-year-old was reading aloud the advertisements inside the train car. He got to this particular ad.

It’s an important message. There’s no doubt about that.

His finger was pointing to the words and he said them very deliberately and loud enough for everyone near us on the crowded train to hear.

6-year-old: We’re. All. Made. Of. The. Same Stuff.

Me: Good job, buddy.

6-year-old: (still pointing to the words) Say. No. To. RAISINS. On. Board.

6-year-old: What’s wrong with raisins?

Needless to say, everyone around us was chuckling.


Target is probably the #1 thing I’ve missed while living in Ireland. After my friends and family, of course. Only a shallow, materialistic, immature person would miss a store that has everything I never needed, but always wanted more than their own family. No sir, I am not that person.

Reading about some guy documenting his first week working at Target had me laughing out loud on the train. This is something a passenger riding by themselves does not do, but it was well worth the odd looks I received. I love that this guy saw the humor in a job many would consider mundane. And for the record, none of the people in his observations were me.

I’ve been missing my piano terribly, so I decided to learn how to play the guitar.

Makes sense, right?

If I recall correctly, I remember crying while learning the piano because I didn’t want to practice. I now feel like crying while learning the guitar because I am practicing and my fingertips are so tender.

So basically, with all the crying, I think I’m on track to learn this thing.


After getting the guitar, my 6-year-old says this to me, in all seriousness…

6-year-old: Mom. You can hold the guitar by this skinny part (pointing to the neck).

Me: Oh, yeah? Do you think that’s a good idea?

6-year-old: Well, you can hold it there, but you shouldn’t hold it over your head and then swing it and bang it on the ground. That could break the guitar.

Me: How did..? Wait…where did you learn…?

6-year-old: (pretends he doesn’t hear me as he head bangs to an imaginary rock song)

I hope you found some humor in your week too! Have a happy weekend!

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Display Shelf from a Silverware Tray

Our kitchen in Ireland has no shallow drawer to hold a silverware tray.

It’s a conundrum.

Instead of throwing the silverware tray away, it was still sturdy and useable, I decided to put it in a box and wait for a silverware drawer to magically appear inspiration.

Most of my good ideas, like this one, came to me in the shower. We’ll just stop there because I don’t want to scar your mind.

My idea? I could turn that silverware tray on its end and make it into a shelf. SHAZAM!

Then I did a little dance and almost slipped in the shower. silverware-tray-makeover-1
The first thing I did was notice how truly beat up and gross this silverware tray had become over the years. As a girl without a silverware tray, let me tell you, they are the unsung heroes of the kitchen.

The bottom of the tray was stapled into the tray’s frame. I had every intention of pulling the staples out like a civilized person, but that turned out to be difficult. So I resorted to brute thumb strength and carefully pushed the bottom of the tray out.

Then I really realized how gross the tray had become. Ew.

After wiping the board clean I realized the staples had to come out. With a hammer, pliers and way too much time, I was able to liberate all of the teeny tiny staples from the board.
That white surface of the tray was designed to be nice and wipeable, which meant it was as slick as a roller skating rink.

I didn’t think paint would adhere very well to it, unless I was using a primer. I wasn’t. This was an “use what you’ve got” project. I don’t have primer or spray paint at the moment.

I flipped the board over and decided to use the back because it wasn’t a coated surface. In my stash of craft paints, I had a sample paint can from Ace True Value. The color was close enough to what I had in mind, so that’s what I used.

The paint did bring out some of the imperfections in the board, but I didn’t think they’d be noticeable once I’d reassembled my shelf.

I was going to call it good with the blue paint, but the wood frame looked pretty sad and beat up.

I didn’t have any stain, but I did have stain pen in my stash of office supplies. That’s a normal thing to keep with the Sharpies and the #2 pencils, right?

My daughter and son both took turns touching up the finish on the tray’s frame. You can see how badly the silverware had dinged up the tray’s finish after years and years of use.


The last task was to reaffix the back of the silverware tray to its frame, which I did with a small bead of wood glue.

Thankfully, the marks left where I removed the staples were hidden by the frame.

It would have been easiest to clamp the board to the frame, but Handy Husband got rid of all our wood clamps when we moved, so I used a bunch of books to weigh it down in place while the glue dried.

And here’s the finished result!


I hung the shelf on the wall using my trusty Command Strips.

Right now my son has his Harry Potter wand, favorite Matchbox cars and Lego figures displayed on the shelf.

And the only reason I photographed his trophies is because we don’t live in that area any longer.

What do you think? Does it look like a silverware tray now?

Or does it just look like a knick-knack, shadow box type shelf?

No matter what the shelf looks like, it works!

On any given day, the knick-knacks might change, so my kiddo is having fun with it. I’m happy with how it filled in the space above his dresser. Now I wish I had another wood silverware tray to make a Shopkins display shelf for my daughter. Shopkins are right up there with Pokemon on the list of toys I don’t understand.

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Our Foyer – Come On In

When we lived in the Atlanta, Georgia area, I finally had the spacious foyer I’d always dreamed about having in a home. Always.

The irony is not lost on me that while I finally had the spacious foyer, no one used it because the house was a ‘come in the back door right into my kitchen’ sort of home. *sigh*

Our home in Ireland is definitely a ‘come in the front door’ type of home. The foyer is actually of decent size and is its own designated space, so people aren’t walking immediately into our living areas.

Assuming that we’ve actually had people over. We haven’t.

Note to self: need to make friends.

Hey, you guys are friends! Come on in and check it out.

Do you know how outrageously happy I am that the bench Handy Husband built fits perfectly in this space?

If you missed how the bench came to be, it’s a good story.

The entry was inspired in a manic moment of “all the things must get off the floor now.” This is a very real part of the unpacking and moving-in process if you are me.

I can always tweak it later to make it match and/or function better. Yes, there is a radiator behind the bench, but it’s not touching it. At this point we don’t plan on using this radiator, but I’ll get back to you in January.

The doorway to the right of the below picture leads to our dining room.

The doorway adjacent to the dining room doorway (a lot of doors in this house) opens into the living room.

The doors in this house are my nemesis. I’d take some of them off, but I don’t have anywhere to stash them.

More doors mean more walls. I’ve learned the default method of construction in Ireland is concrete block walls. Therefore, it is very likely in a home this old (1960s) that all of the walls are structural. To remove a wall would require a significant look by an engineer and placement of a large beam.

If the doors are my nemesis, the concrete walls are my…uh…what’s worse than nemesis? That’s what the doors are.

Do you know what a pain it is to hang stuff on concrete walls? Huge. Gigantic. You need a good drill, masonry drill bits, plastic anchors and screws. Muscles help too.

Everything on this wall, except the mirror, was hung with Command Strips. If you own stock in the company that makes Command Strips, you’re welcome. I think my purchases should insure they have a very good quarter.
One of the pretties I hung on this wall (with Command Strips) is the good luck horseshoe I made awhile back. I know I say all of my projects are my favorite, but I do love this horseshoe makeover. It’s such an easy DIY project.

To give you some perspective on how everything works when you come in the house, here’s the bench in relation to the front door. I hung the coatrack we made with wood from our wine bar right behind the front door. There was really no other spot for it.

The solid white door leads to the office. And, no, I’m not ready to bare my soul and show you the cord-a-palooza that’s going on in there. Or the printer propped up on crates. Or that brand new drill we needed that’s still sitting on the floor.


I’m keeping shoes in a closet next to the stairs, which I didn’t take pictures of for this post.

The basket under the bench is holding mittens, hats and miscellaneous running gear for Handy Husband who run commutes to work. Run as in actual running with two feet running. Yes, he’s nuts dedicated.

The basket on top of the bench is holding all of the miscellaneous stuff that I carry around in my pockets. Lip gloss, keys, change, etc.

The rug was left here by our awesome landlord and I’m kind of digging its neutral zen right now, so I’ve added it into my rug rotation.


I’m happy to have a foyer we actually use and that is functioning pretty well so far. At the end of the month we’ll be adding backpacks, school papers and lunch boxes into the mix, so we’ll see how hard this area works for us then.

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